2021 Danube Christmas Markets Cruise
The most popular of all the tours we offer, everywhere in the world, is our European Christmas Markets Cruise.
The cruise takes you to a mix of major cities and lovely smaller towns and villages, with the Danube river as a peaceful and beautiful pathway for our travels to proceed along.
The comfort and luxury of our “traveling hotel” – the river cruise ship – means we avoid the pesky process of constant packing and unpacking, and can relax and get comfortable while onboard the ship.
Every day sees us visiting lovely towns and villages in Austria and Germany, all full with history, amazing architecture and, wonderfully at this time of year – beautiful Christmas markets.
We’ve plenty of pre-cruise options in and around Prague and Budapest to extend your experience further. After the cruise, we offer a great extension on to Zurich via Liechtenstein. In total, your tour could include time in seven different countries – Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
This page tells you what you need to know about the tour in general. We also have a detailed day by day itinerary so you can understand everything that you’ll get to see and do during your lovely Danube Christmas Markets Cruise.
Start Date & Options
The cruise starts on Saturday 11 December in Vienna.
You can board the ship any time from lunchtime, and our cabins will be available from 3pm.
Optional Pre-cruise Extension
Firstly, we always recommend you should arrive at least a day early when joining tours internationally. This gives you a day to unwind after the flights, and also gives you an “emergency” day in case of problems with flights en route. So, if nothing else, we urge you to arrive in Vienna a day or two before the cruise.
Secondly, if you’re coming over early, why not use your extra days to good purpose, and consider joining our pre-tour optional extension, starting in Prague and going on to Budapest, prior to then arriving in Vienna on Saturday afternoon. These options are detailed on the day-by-day itinerary page.
End Date & Options
The cruise finishes on Saturday 18 December, in Nuremberg.
We arrive into Nuremberg on Friday, so you can leave at any time on Saturday morning if you’ve an early flight to catch.
Optional Post-tour Extension
If you have extra time, we’d of course recommend you first consider adding our pre-cruise extension.
But if your schedule is better filled after this tour, then we offer a wonderful short extension down to Liechtenstein and Zurich. This is also detailed on the day-by-day itinerary page.
If there’s somewhere else you’d like to go, either instead or as well, please ask. I’m pleased to help you plan whatever else you might want to do.
All About River Cruising
Maybe you’ve cruised on a gigantic cruise ship before. River cruising is very different. Our lovely river cruiser, Amacerto, has only 81 cabins, making for a more personal and less institutional experience.
The crew quickly get to know you by name and remember your preferences, and because you’re on board for a week, you also get to know fellow cruisers, making the experience more social and pleasurable in every respect.
Please click the tabs below for more information on what to expect on a river cruise.
Similar to a regular cruise, all your meals are included, with three great meals a day and various other snacks too.
Meals are multi-course and dinners are commonly 5 or more courses, with choices of food for most of the courses. If you’ve special dietary requirements, they can usually be catered to without any problems.
And if you like the wonderful food, you can always ask for seconds!
There’s also a premium restaurant on board, but – unlike a regular cruise – you’re welcome to dine there at no extra cost.
Look at Everything that's Included
Food and Drink inclusions
- Three cooked meals every day, served plated at your table (ie no long lines at buffets with slowly stewing hot items and wilting cold items)
- Morning, afternoon, and evening snacks
- Special gourmet “Chef’s Table” restaurant also available for dinner at no extra cost
- Captain’s welcome ceremony with canapes and drinks the first night
- Farewell ceremony with canapes and drinks the last night
- A return-cruiser function one afternoon, also with drinks and nibbles
- Unlimited free wine, beer, and/or soft drinks with every lunch and dinner
- Sparking wine with breakfast
- Gourmet coffee and tea available 24/7
- Special “health waters” featured daily
Travel Insider Extras
- An exclusive Travel Insider function prior to dinner one night with drinks and nibbles
- An alumni/supporters function prior to dinner one night with drinks and nibbles
- A high-value pre-tour option to Prague and Budapest
- A high-value post-tour option to Liechtenstein and Zurich
- (if sufficient demand) An exclusive Travel Insider excursion to a Viennese concert
- (if sufficient demand) An exclusive day tour to Salzburg including Mondsee, scenic drive, and the site where Silent Night truly was composed
- A pair of handwarmers for each person
- A small Travel Insider gift
- Special Travel Insider $25 per person shipboard credit
- Personal assistance from David Rowell during the tour and cruise to help with any extra needs or requirements you have
Other Inclusions and Features
- Daily off-ship excursions every day at no extra cost
- Free bike rentals from the ship if you want to explore on your own
- Gym and wellness program on board
- Evening entertainment most nights
- We also stay in some ports until late evening giving you a chance to enjoy your choice of shore-side entertainments
- Some special Christmas season events and even gifts
Responding to Covid-19
At present – early June (we will update this section any time there are significant changes) it seems that new virus case numbers are declining everywhere in Europe and North America. Plus, most of us have had a chance to be vaccinated if we wish, and probably everyone else will have a similar chance between now and the cruise. We recommend you be vaccinated, for all the obvious reasons.
Amawaterways has a fastidious approach to hygiene, and is the only US based river cruise operator to have successfully operated a four month season of cruises during the worst of the pandemic in 2020.
The cruises all fully comply with “best practices” and exceed host country guidelines. All cabins have their own independent air conditioning units.
It is hard to know exactly what to expect in December. Currently, masking is only required while moving around on board the ship, and might be eliminated entirely by December. Enhanced cleaning, plenty of hand sanitizing stations, a change from buffet to individually served plated meals, reducing the number of people per cruise, and social distancing in smaller sides groups for shore excursions, plus assorted other measures, all combine to give you a high level of safety at minimum impact to your wonderful cruise experience.
Amawaterways also offer you the ability to change your sailing date, at no cost, any time up until 48 hours prior to the start of your journey (if you deposit your booking by 30 June). If you buy their Travel Waiver Plus insurance policy (by 30 June), this allows you to cancel as well as change your booking (ask us for full details).
Please ask if you have additional questions or concerns.
Cabin Types and Tour Cost
Amacerto has 81 cabins on three decks. Their cabins are among the largest of any Danube cruise ship.
Cabins are typically either 210 sq ft or 235 sq ft in size, and with outside balconies as well as floor to ceiling windows. There are some smaller 170 sq ft cabins that appeal to the budget-conscious travelers, and some smaller cabins on the lowest deck that have large portholes rather than floor to ceiling windows. Suites are an enormous 300 sq ft in size.
Of course, the better/bigger/higher up your cabin is, the more it costs. We’ve written a detailed article on choosing a cabin on a river cruise ship, here. Most people generally choose an AA/AB or BA/BB cabin, and others will choose a C/D/E cabin. There’s no wrong answer, and you’ll love your cruise, whichever you choose.
The cabin choices and prices for the cruise is shown immediately below.
Note these rates include a $1000 per cabin ($500 per person) discount.
|Cabin Type||Net Cruise Price per person||Single Supplement|
|Suite (only 2 remaining)|
300 sq ft
($6998 before discount)
|AA+ (only 1 remaining)|
290 sq ft
($6198 before discount)
235 sq ft
($5598 before discount)
235 sq ft
($5398 before discount)
|BA (only 2 remaining)|
210 sq ft
($5198 before discount)
210 sq ft
($4998 before discount)
170 sq ft – no outside balcony
mid and top decks
($4398 before discount)
160 sq ft – fixed windows
($3698 before discount)
|E (possibly all sold)|
160 sq ft – fixed windows
($3399 before discount)
Rates are per person, share twin. Single supplements (at a special discount – normally 50%) are shown if you are traveling alone.
We will help to match together singles if you’d like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler but can not guarantee this.
In addition to the cruise (and pre/post tour options) rates, there is a $196 per person port charge.
Passengers are invited to offer a voluntary gratuity to the ship’s crew and to the ship’s Tour Manager at the end of the cruise.
Other Price Comments
The cruise can be paid for with credit card and no surcharge. The pre/post cruise options reflect a 3% discount for cash/check.
A $400 per person non-refundable deposit will be required to confirm your cruise cabin, and an extra $250/100 to confirm your place on the pre/post tour options.
Tour does not include the costs of travel to and from the tour start and end points, or anything not specified as included.
Amawaterways Return Cruisers
If you’ve been on a previous Amawaterways cruise, you are probably entitled to return cruiser loyalty benefits. These range from $100 per person discounts up to cabin upgrades. We’ll explain these to you if you qualify.
Special Travel Insider Savings
Why not bring a friend or two with you, for more shared fun and fellowship.
To encourage you to do this, and your friends to travel with you, we’ll offer a 1% discount for each extra person you bring with you (other than anyone you are already sharing your room with).
Bring another couple, and they get a 2% discount – and you get the same 2% discount too! Bring two couples and all of you get a 4% discount, and so on (up to a maximum of 10%).
Singles Save Too!
Travel Insider tours always have a large number of singles – our groups are friendly, inclusive, and welcoming, making them ideal for singles as well as couples and larger groups.
We do our best to make our tours not only as friendly as possible, but also affordable and fair for singles, too.
Amawaterways are offering reduced single supplements for singles on this cruise. This has been shown in the table above.
The Christmas Markets
One of the absolute highlights of a Christmas Markets tour is of course the Christmas Markets we visit.
From late November through to Christmas, just about every village and town has a Christmas Market. Larger cities might have two or three or even many more spread around the city. Smaller villages have their markets open only weekends, larger places are open every day.
The markets are a wonderful and colorful kaleidoscope of gifts, arts and crafts, ornaments, clothing, local food specialties to take away, food to eat on site, and refreshments too, including the famous hot spiced mulled wine, “gluhwein”.
While the markets are very popular with visitors, they are also enjoyed by the locals too. It is a place to visit, to socialize, to eat and drink, and to “hang out” after work and on weekends for the locals, adding to their authenticity.
I made a “photo journal” of the 2007 Danube Christmas Markets cruise. Sure, that’s 14 years ago, but Europe being Europe, very little has changed, and you might find it interesting. (Apologies for the poor page formatting, while nothing much has happened in Europe in the last 14 years, a lot has happened on the internet!)
Here are a few more market images, immediately below.
More Helpful Information
Usually you will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel.
You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose the airline you wish to earn miles with. You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards and/or upgrade to premium cabins.
Amawaterways can arrange air if you prefer. If you buy the Amawaterways airfare, they include transfers from the airport to the cruise ship when you arrive into Vienna and leave from Nuremberg. These transfers are convenient, but require you to arrive and depart on the exact days the cruise starts and finishes.
We suggest you check to see if you can use any frequent flier miles you might have for this travel, and/or check to see what the best fare you can get on your favorite airline is, then compare it to the Amawaterways rate and make your decision then.
You are of course free to make your own arrangements, any way you wish, to travel to Prague or Budapest and then home again from wherever, and you can make extra stops, arrive earlier or stay longer.
Most people end up arranging their own air rather than booking through Amawaterways.
We’ll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course. We’re here to help, every which way.
Register Your Interest Now
As soon as your application is received, we will quickly respond to confirm your request.
Tour Terms and Conditions
Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.
In addition, please note these extra terms :
1. Deposit ($400 for the cruise, and, if applicable, $250 for the pre-tour options and/or $100 for the post tour options) will be required within seven days once your cabin choice is confirmed. Full payment is due on or before Friday 10 September, 2021.
2. US, Canadian, and many other citizens require a current passport that will not expire until after the date of their planned return from the EU in order to be admitted to the Schengen zone and EU countries. A visa is not required. Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to the UK to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply. Note that the EU requires a passport to be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the EU.
3. The cruise price is unlikely to change unless there is a major change in exchange rates. The pre and post tour options area based on a wholesale Euro/Dollar exchange rate in the range of 1.19 – 1.24 (as shown, eg, in Yahoo Finance/Money – on 8 June 2021 it is showing a rate of 1.22). If the exchange rate moves outside this range, and prior to full payment having been received by you, we will adjust the price up or down to reflect the change in underlying tour costs. We will advise you if the exchange rate is materially changing and you can always lock in the price by sending in early full payment.
4. Terms and conditions of Amawaterways also apply. In particular, please note that the itinerary can occasionally (very rarely) change if water levels are too high or too low to allow the boat to travel.